Friday, October 30, 2009

Florida - Georgia Slam

Hordes of Dawg fans decended on Amelia Island this week for tomorrows Florida/Georgia football game and those of us that live here get a "holiday" feeling and you know there's nothing better than a fishing trip with friends to kick off a holiday. I left the new Goffinsville boat ramp at daybreak with friends Don Hughes and Foy Maloy and ran to the Spanish Drop area of Nassau River. We had our rods rigged with topwater lures and also had a few rigged for shrimp under a float and with the sun just coming up we started a troll. There were a few clouds, a light breeze and the Marsh Hens were raising a ruckus as the sun came up. We didn't have any hits on the topwaters, but picked up a couple of nice Bonnethead Sharks so we cranked the Johnson and ran around to the mouth of Jackstaff. After trolling a short while we began to pick up Trout and Redfish, all on the shrimp under a float rig. I noticed that we had very little, if any Pinfish/Croaker nibblers that keep you busy; every now and then we'd have a hookup and it would be a Trout or Redfish. We worked the bank up and down with Don and Foy making pinpoint casts to the shoreline, catching about 6 Trout and 6 Reds with a couple of nice Blues thrown in. Finally, Foy rounded out the inshore "slam" by hooking up and netting a nice 19" Flounder. With the big game coming up tomorrow, this turned out to be another great day to be out on the water!

Monday, October 26, 2009

23rd Annual Trout Tournament

The Nassau Sport Fishing Association has set the date for their Annual Trout Tournament benefiting the Big Brother and Big Sisters organization. A Captains meeting will be held at Tiger Point Marina on November 6, 2009 at 6:30pm. Check out at Fernandina Harbour Marina will start Saturday November 7th at 6:00am. Weigh in will be at Tiger Point Marina. Weigh in line opens at 3:00pm and closes at 4:30pm. Entry fee is $120 per boat with checks made payable to N.S.F.A. There will be an awards dinner at 7:00pm Saturday November 7th at Tiger Point Marina. There are first prizes for Largest Trout, Aggregate (3 trout) and Slam (Redfish, Trout, and Flounder). Prizes will also be awarded for 2nd and 3rd place in each category. Register at Atlantic Seafood, The Bait House, Amelia Bait and Tackle, Leaders and Sinkers, and at the Captain's Meeting.

Recipe of The Month: Roasted Seatrout with Bruschetta

This recipe comes from the Florida Times Union, who got it from "The Best of Relish Cookbook".

16 oz of Seatrout 6 Tbsp Olive oil

1/4 tsp Sea Salt Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1 Lb Grape Tomatoes, halved 1/2 Cup red onion finely diced

1 Tsp sugar 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

4 thick Italian ( or one long roll) 1/2 Cup shredded basil leaves

3 large cloves garlic crushed, divided

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a sided baking sheet with nonstick spray and place fish on sheet. In a small bowl, stir together 3 Tbsp of the olive oil, 1 crushed garlic clove, the salt and pepper. Using half this mixture, brush over the fish.

Place the fish in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes or until tender and opaque.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion, remaining garlic cloves and sugar. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until slightly thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in parsley. Keep the mixture warm.

Remove the fish from the oven. Brush some olive oil on bread and bake in oven for 3 minutes or until slightly toasted. Place bread slices on each plate and top with some tomato mixture. Place fish on top of mixture and then add some more tomato mixture and shredded basil leaves.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Project Boat

This 15" Waterbug boat was built by B & W plastics in Brooklet, Georgia - probably in the 80's. It was my dad's boat, who sold it to my buddy, Charlie, who eventually gave it back to us. I told him I'd fix it up and we'd all use it for some shallow water and creek fishing. This is the boat that I borrowed from my dad when I first started fly fishing in Lofton Creek, Boggy Creek and the little St. Mary's River. One day while fishing for bream in Lofton Creek with a fly rod and popping bug I made a cast a little too long and hung the bug up in a overhanging brier. I eased the boat's bow up to the creek bank and reached out to retrieve the popping bug. At the last minute I saw a big 'ol fat Water Moccasin start moving and slither down the bank, alongside the bow of the boat, and into the water. As the snake went by the boat all I could envision was it coming right into the bow where I was I started dancing trying to get my feet up off the floor of the boat...and in a split second the serpent slipped into the water and disappeared! I'm glad nobody was watching! Anyway, I've replaced the wheel bearings, wheels, and springs on the trailer and have removed any "loose" stuff. The stern has a crack or two so I'm in the process of repairing those and attaching a new motor mount. Then my plan is to patch some holes on the interior of the boat, sand and paint. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Family Affair.....

....with a little bit of sibling rivalry thrown in! Brothers Mike Craig, Steve Leary and sister Loretta Hayes, along with Mike's son David met me at the boat ramp bright and early Sunday morning for Mike's birthday fishing trip. Although we launched from Atlantic Seafood, we decided to run south to the Horsehead area and I'm glad we did. Pulling into the mouth of Jackstaff, it wasn't long before we began to hook up with Mike catching a Bonnethead then David boating a Seatrout. Then all heck broke lose with everyone joining in catching Red after Red after Red. They were all in the 15"-17" range but they were very aggressive and put up some good battles on the light tackle gear. David did hook up with a drag-ripping fish that first headed down river, then up...and kept going, snapping the line and gone for good! We tried a couple of more spots in Jackstaff with Loretta catching a Flounder, David another Trout and then Mike had another Red. We ran to Broward Island where the anglers picked up a Puppy Drum and Snapper. This was a beautiful day with a light breeze that made the unusual October heat tolerable.

Hot Fall Fishing

I fished Saturday with Josh and Molly Frederickson, along with Emily Buck, all in from New England visiting Amelia Islanders. We left Atlantic Seafood early with a full baitwell, headed up to Jolley River and unlimbered our spinning gear with the shrimp and jig combo. We immediately began to pick up bites with Molly boating a couple of Seatrout and Emily joining in with some Croaker. We moved on up the river where Josh hooked up with a 3'+ Bonnethead shark that gave him a battle - one that Josh eventually won when we netted the fish for pictures. We caught a couple of "Rat Reds" then ran back to the front side of Tiger Island. Emily had bite after bite from "nibblers" while Molly hooked up twice with something big - the last looked like a flounder before we lost it at boat side. We toured Cumberland Island and saw a couple of wild horses and then ended the trip by cruising historic Fort Clinch.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Redfish Feeding Frenzy

I fished with Cpt. David Black of Maryland and John Angus of Fernandina Beach this morning. We left the Talbot Island boat ramp at 7:30 am with a livewell of live shrimp and a handful of finger mullet and ran up the intercoastal to the mouth of Jackstaff in the Horsehead area. I began the troll just out from the mouth and by the time we reached the pointe David had a strong hookup and run; the fight was on! David played the fish expertly - we all guessed a shark by the way it was hunkered down on the bottom - but eventually it broke off. However it wasn't long before he was hooked up with a hungry Redfish and worked it in to the boat. John had been tossing a topwater, but switched to the same jig/shrimp Combo that David was using and he too began to get hookups. At one time he had a hookup, lost it, David hooked up, then John hooked up again! These reds were hungry! We worked the same bank for an hour and a half with John tying in to a hungry, hard fighting Redfish that kept us busy for a while. Eventually the fish was netted, measured, weighed and released - a 31", 11lb Big Red! All told, they boated about 7-8 Reds along that bank. We ran to Broward Island, fought the current, ran to "Bubblegum Reef", had a few nibblers with David catching a Snapper, then called it a morning...a great one, at that!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Flounder Pounder

If you can imagine an early morning, sun just coming up over Fort Clinch and the Atlantic Ocean, air temperature cool, just below 70 and just the slightest of breeze - the marsh water is almost "lake like", and two anglers quietly tossing topwater lures to the flooded grass line and Seatrout striking, striking, striking, FISH ON....then you'd know how the morning started today. Brothers Dennis and John Mahar hit the backcountry with me this morning and brought an arsenal of fishing gear to compliment what I had on board. We threw everything at them: topwater plugs, sinking flies on 7w rods, jigs and shrimp and shrimp under floats. Dennis, President of Gainesville's North Florida Fly Fishing Club, was persistent with the flyrod and eventually hooked up with a hard fighting Ladyfish; both guys switched to different tackle as the conditions changed. They ended up boating 6-7 Trout, the Ladyfish, and a Snapper. We ended the day behind Tiger Island where John hooked up and reeled in a nice 17" Flounder. We thought that was a fairly good catch until he then felt a strong, rod bending pull and the fight was on! Playing the fish like an expert, John worked the fish to the surface and into the waiting net...a 8lb, 27" Flounder! Boy what a fish! As always, another great day out on the water!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Tailing Redfish

There are good "Tailing Redfish" tides early morning October 17 (Saturday), October 18 (Sunday), October 19 (Monday) and October 20 (Tuesday). We had a great time in September chasing the tails around the grass flats - give me a call and we'll set a trip up.

Topwater Duo

Andy Dillard of Fernandina Beach, Florida and his brother Terry Dillard of Waycross, Georgia wanted to get in some topwater plug fishing so we left the dock early this morning with the express intent of hitting a grass line quick! The high tide peaked at 7:15am and when we reached our first spot the tide was already going out. Andy, throwing a white w/red head plug and Terry throwing an all-white plug were making pinpoint casts to the grass line and began to pick up "hits". They caught a couple of trout and Andy hooked up with a hard fighting Blue that had some "umph" to him. We ran around to Jolley River, again throwing the topwaters and had more hits and then another nice sized, fighting mad, Blue. Terry switched to a live shrimp under a float and his first two casts produced bites and eventually trout. We tried a couple of more spots and ended up anchored at the MOA where Terry had a line ripping bite that took him for a tour around the boat - a few times -and after expertly working the fish to the boat - we netted a 3'+ Bonnethead Shark - that gnawed another hole in my net (this net has made it through the summer shark bite having been patched about 4-5 times). We fished the docks at Bell River, the mouth of Lanceford Creek, and then trolled Lanceford oyster beds where Terry picked up a nice Redfish. The wind was blowing 10-15mph but the sun was out on our first cool day of the year so we counted it as....another great day out on the water!